Saturday, April 22, 2017 - Lexington, Virginia - Day two of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Hunt Seat National Finals saw the start of Team competition in the morning with 44 Teams vying for points in multiple over fences classes. In addition to competing individually, IEA Teams compete for points during team classes. The top six riders in each class accrue points for their team, and, at the end of the show, the Leading Hunt Seat Teams are awarded. Grazing Fields Farm is leading the points for the Upper School Teams and Movado Farm Equestrian Team is leading the competition for the Middle School Teams. Tomorrow, team competitors will jockey for additional points in Team Flat Classes.
While competition was underway in the arena, other riders were taking the Holy Innocents' Horsemanship Test (presented by the United States Pony Clubs, Inc.) to test their horsemanship knowledge. Select participants of this test will return tomorrow to undertake a practicum to determine a final winner. During the middle of the day, the show held a "Parade of Teams" where all the competition IEA Teams marched through the arena displaying their team spirit. During this parade of teams, Executive Director, Roxane Durant, Chief Operating Officer, Myron Leff, and Founding Member, Wayne Ackerer thanked sponsors, involved the riders in all kinds of fun activities, and presented the 10th Annual Timothy J. Boone Lifetime Achievement Award. K. Simon Towns, who has been a part of the IEA since 2007 was presented this award, the highest honor in the IEA. Simon is the Zone Administrator Captain and the Zone 4 Administrator. Towns also sits on the Rules & Ethics Committee, Education Committee, and the IEA Board of Directors. To finish the parade, Roxane Durant announced the dates and location of next year's 2018 National Finals. The Hunt Seat National Finals will be April 20-22, 2018 in Syracuse, NY.
In addition to the Team Competition, Day Two also included the Varsity Open Championship Class. Ten top-level Varsity Open riders who competed on Friday in both over fences and flat classes were selected from a pool of 41 outstanding riders, to compete again in over fences and flat rail work. First year Nationals attendee, Abigail Whitmer emerged as the Varsity Open Championship Rider. Whitmer rides for the Tuscaloosa Equestrian Team (Zone 4) and is coached by Reid Rickett.
Additional Award Winners on Saturday included:
Varsity Intermediate on the Flat - Individual Final
Mackenzie Njoo from Takeoff Farm - Zone 7
Future Intermediate on the Flat - Individual Final
Electra Hamilton from Myopia Stables - Zone 1
Junior Varsity Novice on the Flat - Individual Final
Grace Skillman from Storybook Jr. Cougars - Zone 4
Future Novice on the Flat - Individual Final
Bridget Connors from Double Deuce Farm - Zone 5
Junior Varsity Beginner on the Flat - Individual Final
Liz Colao from True Heart Equestrian Team - Zone 2
Future Beginner on the Flat - Individual Final
Addie Hanckel from Storybook Jr. Cougars - Zone 4
The IEA National Finals will wrap up competition on Sunday with Team classes on the flat and final award presentations.
Celebrating its 15th season, the IEA has more than 13,500 middle and high school student-riders across the United States. The IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels. No rider needs to own a horse because the IEA provides a mount and tack for each equestrian at every event. For more information, please view the IEA website at: www.rideiea.org.